t’s refreshing to know that Namibia’s music is finally being brought to the fore, by an inspiring young artist who is fast penetrating the international scene.
Elemotho is one of a handful of young artists that have independently emerged across the continent in recent years, to present an authentically African sound with strong crossover elements and a universal message of hope.
Unlike many others who fall [or are thrown] into the vast category called ‘World Music’, these artists’ offerings are probably most appropriate to this enforced genre.
Each one has a recognizably regional sensibility, with their own unique expression and individual strengths, but all add global influences – resulting in a sound that could best be described as a kind of ’nu-folk’.
But thankfully, like most of these fresh talents, Elemotho prefers to not classify his music, saying:
“I see myself as a performing artist and musical activist; I like to throw reality around, thus exploring the depth of the human spirit”.
His first album, “The System is a Joke” is a gentle and poignant demonstration of his world view. Asserting his identity, both musically and lyrically, his message was of non-commercialism, non-conformity and universality.
With increased confidence and an equally self-explanatory title, his second album, “Human”, follows as a natural extension.
He plays acoustic guitar and sings in his mother-tongue Setswana, English, Afrikaans and other Namibian languages; often alternating between these languages in a single song.
His approach to instrumentation is similar, combining contemporary bass and electric guitar licks with earthy African percussions; he often includes the ancestral Mbira (thumb piano), flute, drum kit and backing vocals for harmonies.
This freshness is enhanced by his band – a group of skilled newcomers who enliven the Afropolitan aspect, imbuing it with international elements. The most striking contribution is that of Polina Loubnina, a Siberian flautist – her sweet Northern melodies intermittently wind throughout the albums, adding an unexpected yet integrated touch.
With storytelling skills first sparked from the fireside under the Kalahari sky, this young Namibian has come a long way. Having absorbed international influences, he’s integrated them into resolved arrangements with a high level of artistry and production.
Elemotho offers hope through his evolution – with a sound that’s both sweet and profound; he has risen from rural beginnings to the international stage.
“Elemotho’s music can best be described as the music of the future making waves today.”